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Bang on a Can Celebrates 25 Years with Triple Bill Concert at Lincoln Center

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Bang on a Can takes over Alice Tully Hall presented by Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series in a triple-bill birthday bash on Saturday, April 28 at 7pm featuring the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Asphalt Orchestra, and MIT’s Gamelan Galak Tika. Bang on a Can is celebrating 25 years during 2012, having grown from a one-day New York-based Marathon concert (on Mother’s Day in 1987 in a SoHo art gallery) to a multi-faceted performing arts organization with a broad range of year-round international activities.

The Bang on a Can @ 25 celebration at Lincoln Center opens with MIT’s Gamelan Galak Tika performing its signature piece, Bang on a Can All-Stars founding clarinetist and composer Evan Ziporyn’s “Tire Fire," a blend of ancient tradition and modern technology that The New York Times describes as “an exuberant blast of metal fireworks.” “Tire Fire" was the stunning finale of the 1995 Bang on a Can marathon at Alice Tully Hall; it has also been performed at John Adams' In Your Ear Festival at Zankel Hall and at the Bali International Arts Festival in Denpasar, Indonesia.

Also featured in this birthday bash performance is in-house virtuoso street band Asphalt Orchestra with Japanese drummer Tatsuya Yoshida (mastermind behind the legendary noise/prog band Derek & the Ruins Bailey). Asphalt has arranged two of his pieces and will be collaborating on an epic world premiere composition (with Yoshida performing live). Yoshida’s music is simultaneously whimsical and intense, careening from spastic video game sounds to epic king's court brass chords. This will be a one-of-a-kind Asphalt event and is not slated to be repeated.

The evening will culminate with the US premiere of Field Recordings, Bang on a Can’s major new project, featuring nine hot-off-the-press commissioned works by Tyondai Braxton, Mira Calix (performing live), Florent Ghys, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Christian Marclay (performing live), Julia Wolfe, Nick Zammuto formerly of The Books (performing live), and Evan Ziporyn (performing live). For 135 years recorded sound has permeated every corner of life, changing music along with everything else. Bartók and Kodály took recording devices into the hills of central Europe and modern music was never the same; rock and roll’s lineage comes from artists revealed to the world the Lomaxes, the Seegers, and other archivists. Hip-hop culture democratized sampling – popular music today is a form of musique concrète, the voices and rhythms of the past mixing with the sound of machinery and electronics.

Bang on a Can’s Field Recordings asked nine composers to go into the field of recorded sound itself – to find something old or record something new, and to respond with their own music, in dialogue with what they found. What they found is a bridge through time, sensation, and sound – a thrilling ride from 1912 to 2012, New York to Hollywood to Las Vegas to John Cage to French Canadian folk singing to Balinese chant to Beauty Treatments, tape loops, vinyl records, and more. With Field Recordings, one hundred years of sound and imagery unfold to reveal a contemporary collective consciousness channeled through the “unstoppable, sexy, and loud” (Newsday) Bang on a Can All-Stars.

Over the past 25 years Bang on a Can has enjoyed a long relationship with Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series, beginning with the BOAC Marathons in Alice Tully Hall, 1994-1997. The Bang on Can All-Stars also performed at Lincoln Center several times. Highlights include March 1998, when the All-Stars premiered its arrangements of Brian Eno's Music for Airports; they returned in March 1999 to collaborate with Meredith Monk; February 2002, with Don Byron and Kyaw Kyaw Naing; May 2004, with Terry Riley as part of the Andriessen Festival, Sonic Evolutions; and in March 2009, with Glenn Kotche and a new work by Michael Gordon commissioned by Lincoln Center (as well as works by David Lang and Julia Wolfe) as part of the festival celebrating the re-opening of Alice Tully Hall. More recently, Lincoln Center Out of Doors presented Asphalt Orchestra over 10 packed nights in the summers of 2009 and 2010.

New All-Stars Album: Big Beautiful Dark and Scary

The Bang on a Can All-Stars have recorded their first studio album in five years, for release on Cantaloupe Music. The album, Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, is also the first to include the All-Stars’ current line-up: Ashley Bathgate, cello; Robert Blackwater Surprise Bradley, bass; Vicky Chow, piano; David Cossin, percussion; Mark Stewart, electric guitar; and Evan Ziporyn, clarinets. In celebration of its 25th birthday, Bang on a Can gave away the complete recording as a download for the first 25 days of January. In exchange, listeners needed only to share a memory or thought about Bang on a Can at www.bangonacan25.org. Thousands of comments were submitted, and the resulting scrapbook remains online to view. Big Beautiful Dark and Scary was available on iTunes for a special price until the physical CD was released on February 28, 2012.

Bang on a Can’s 25th Year

Bang on a Can’s 25th year includes performances around the world featuring a broad selection of brand new musical adventures alongside a recommitment to acclaimed projects from past years. The Bang on a Can All-Stars tour to Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Amsterdam, Bordeaux, London, Moscow, Glasgow, and many other places throughout the U.S. and internationally. Projects for 2011-2012 include the All-Stars in a dizzying array of collaborations with friends old and new – joining forces with Norwegian superstars Trio Mediaeval (in Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer); with percussion legend Steven Schick (in an evening of music by Steve Reich in Los Angeles’s Disney Hall, featuring 2x5 and Music for 18 Musicians); with an all-new expanded live tour of Brian Eno’s ambient classic Music for Airports; and with a host of composers, visual and sound artists (in the premiere of a new evening-length touring project, Field Recordings – a collaborative program created from found sounds, images, and voices). The season also includes the premiere of a newly staged show featuring the exceptional marching band Asphalt Orchestra, new CD releases on Bang on a Can’s sister-label Cantaloupe Music including the January 2012 release of the Bang on a Can All-Stars first studio recording in five years, the 2-CD set Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, and more.

Bang on a Can is not afraid to create new programs to fulfill its mission. In addition to the 25th birthday of its founding, Bang on a Can is also celebrating the 20th year of its celebrated electric chamber ensemble, the Bang on a Can All-Stars; the 15th year of its membership-based commissioning arm, the Peoples’ Commissioning Fund; and the 10th year of the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, a professional development program for young composers and performers led by today’s pioneers of experimental music. Bang on a Can has also recently started the avant-marching band Asphalt Orchestra and through its technology-based musical outreach program Found Sound Nation, it has partnered with the State Department of the United States of America to create OneBeat, a revolutionary, post-political residency program that uses music to bridge the gulf between young American musicians and young musicians from developing countries. Each new program has evolved to answer specific challenges faced by today’s musicians, composers and audiences, in order to make innovative music widely accessible and wildly received.

“When we started Bang on a Can in 1987, we never imagined that our one-day, 12-hour marathon festival of mostly unknown music would morph into a giant international organization dedicated to the support of experimental music, wherever we would find it,” write Bang on a Can Co-Founders Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe. “But it has, and we are so gratified to be still hard at work, all these years later. The reason is really clear to us – we started this organization because we believed that making new music is a utopian act, that people need to hear this music and they need to hear it presented in the most persuasive way, with the best players, with the best programs, for the best listeners, in the best context. Our commitment to changing the environment for this music has kept us busy and, and we are not done yet.”

About Bang on a Can

Bang on a Can is dedicated to making music new. Since its first Marathon concert in 1987, Bang on a Can has been creating an international community dedicated to innovative music, wherever it is found. With adventurous programs, it commissions new composers, performs, presents, and records new work, develops new audiences, and educates the musicians of the future. Bang on a Can is building a world in which powerful new musical ideas flow freely across all genres and borders. Bang on a Can plays “a central role in fostering a new kind of audience that doesn’t concern itself with boundaries. If music is made with originality and integrity, these listeners will come” (The New York Times).

Current projects include the annual Bang on a Can Marathon; The People's Commissioning Fund, a membership program to commission emerging composers; the Bang on a Can All-Stars, who tour to major festivals and concert venues around the world every year; recording projects; the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival – a professional development program for young composers and performers led by today’s pioneers of experimental music; Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can’s extreme street band that offers mobile performances re-contextualizing unusual music; Found Sound Nation, a new technology-based musical outreach program now partnering with the State Department of the United States of America to create Onebeat, a revolutionary, post-political residency program that uses music to bridge the gulf between young American musicians and young musicians from developing countries; cross-disciplinary collaborations and projects with DJs, visual artists, choreographers, filmmakers and more. Each new program has evolved to answer specific challenges faced by today’s musicians, composers and audiences, in order to make innovative music widely accessible and wildly received. Bang on a Can’s inventive and aggressive approach to programming and presentation has created a large and vibrant international audience made up of people of all ages who are rediscovering the value of contemporary music.

About the Bang on a Can All-Stars

Formed in 1992, the Bang on a Can All-Stars are recognized worldwide for their ultra-dynamic live performances and recordings of today’s most innovative music. Freely crossing the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world and experimental music, this six-member amplified ensemble has consistently forged a distinct category-defying identity, taking music into uncharted territories. Performing each year throughout the U.S. and internationally, the All-Stars have shattered the definition of what concert music is today.

Together, the All-Stars have worked in unprecedented close collaboration with some of the most important and inspiring musicians of our time, including Steve Reich, Ornette Coleman, Burmese circle drum master Kyaw Kyaw Naing, Tan Dun, DJ Spooky, and many more. The group’s celebrated projects include their landmark recordings of Brian Eno’s ambient classic Music for Airports and Terry Riley’s In C, as well as live performances with Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Don Byron, Iva Bittova, Thurston Moore, Owen Pallett and others. The All-Stars were awarded Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year in 2005 and have been heralded as “the country’s most important vehicle for contemporary music” by The San Francisco Chronicle.

In addition to Field Recordings, recent project highlights include the world premiere, performances, and recording of Steve Reich’s 2x5 including a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall; the group’s multiple visits to China for the Beijing Music Festival and Hong Kong Arts Festival; the US tour and Carnegie Hall performance of Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer, an evening-length staged concert with Trio Mediaeval; the October 2010 BAM Next Wave Festival performances of Evan Ziporyn’s A House in Bali, a new dance-opera featuring the All-Stars with Balinese Gamelan; commissioned works by Louis Andriessen, Bill Frisell, Ryuichi Sakamoto and more. With a massive repertoire of works written specifically for the group's distinctive instrumentation and style of performance, the All-Stars have become a genre in their own right. The All-Stars record on Cantaloupe Music and have released past recordings on Sony, Universal and Nonesuch.

About Asphalt Orchestra

Asphalt Orchestra is a radical new street band that brings processional music to the mobile masses. Created by the founders of Bang on a Can, Asphalt Orchestra unleashes innovative music from concert halls, rock clubs and jazz basements and takes it to the streets and beyond. The band brings together some of the most exciting rock, jazz and classical players in New York City who The New York Times called “12 top-notch brass and percussion players.” Asphalt Orchestra has two lives: as an outdoor guerrilla musical force choreographed by Susan Marshall and Mark DeChiazza, and as “Unpack the Elephant,” the indoor experience, directed by Mark DeChiazza and Andrew Robinson. Elizabeth Hope Clancy is the group’s wardrobe stylist.

Asphalt Orchestra has performed throughout the east coast of the U.S. and Canada, at London’s Barbican Centre, at the TED Women conference in Washington D.C., and more. Their repertoire ranges from music by pop wizard Björk, to jazz legend Charles Mingus, rock progressive Frank Zappa, Brazilian iconoclast songwriter Tom Zé, Zimbabwean provocateur Thomas Mapfumo, Swedish metal band Meshuggah, and new pieces written for the band by David Byrne and Annie Clarkv ("St. Vincent"), {{Yoko Ono, Goran Bregovic, Tyondai Braxton ("Battles"), and Stew and Heidi Rodewald (Broadway and Spike Lee’s Passing Strange).

Asphalt Orchestra’s debut album was released in 2010 by Cantaloupe Music. The group is co-directed by Ken Thomson and Jessica Schmitz. For more information, visit www.asphaltorchestra.com.

About MIT’s Gamelan Galak Tika

Gamelan Galak Tika has been at the forefront of innovative, cross-cultural music for Balinese gamelan since 1993. Led by composer Evan Ziporyn, Galak Tika has performed groundbreaking music at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, BAM, several Bang on a Can Marathons, Southern Exposure, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and colleges throughout the Northeast. In 2005 the group toured Bali, performing at the Bali International Arts Festival, Kuta Beach, and numerous villages around the island. Galak Tika is dedicated to commissioning and performing new works by Balinese and American composers for gamelan and mixed ensembles of gamelan and Western instruments, as well as performing traditional Balinese music and dance. Recent projects have included the world premiere of Terry Riley's White Space Conflict (commissioned by the group), Christine Southworth's SuperCollider for electronic gamelan and Kronos Quartet (premiered at Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival in 2010), Evan Ziporyn's Bayu Sabda Idep for gamelan and strings, and new works by Dewa Alit, Ramon Castillo, and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche. Galak Tika has recorded for Airplane Ears, New World, and New Albion. The group plays on three complete sets of instruments. These include one traditional pelog set, one tuned in just intonation, and the newest collection, the completely electronic Gamelan Elektrika. “Galak Tika” is Bahasa Kawi (classical Javanese, a dialect of Sanskrit) for “intense togetherness.” For more information, visit www.galaktika.org.

Bang on a Can @ 25 Season Schedule April 15, 2012 at 2pm: Bang on a Can All-Stars Bassist Robert Black | Performing Bang on a Bass with the Hartt College Bass Army
MIT | Killian Hall | Cambridge, MA

April 28, 2012 at 7pm
Bang on a Can 25th Birthday Concert | MIT’s Gamelan Galak Tika, Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can All-Stars in Field Recordings
Alice Tully Hall | Lincoln Center | New York, NY

June 17, 2012
Bang on a Can Marathon
World Financial Center Winter Garden | New York, NYer

July 8-29, 2012
Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival
MASS MoCA | North Adams, MA

This story appears courtesy of Jensen Artists.
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